Last month, we took a look at the Millenium film program. This month we focus on the TV Production program.
Tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?
Thank you for asking! I enjoy talking about what I love to do. I decided to start teaching as an opportunity to go deeper with my creative freedom. I followed a model that worked for my mentor when I was a teen except instead of theatre productions, I decided to do motion pictures. I set the intention to start a conservatory program for teens, and then I met my wife, Brittney. With our combined experience, the HARA Motion Picture Conservatory was founded. Our driving mission was to guide young adults interested in acting to get the experience they need to capture their own talent.
How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
Our initial funding came from an inheritance, actually. It was a godsend because we had already begun our first season and created an ambitious fim. There was no way that our sliding scale tuitions could pay for the level of standards we hoped to maintain for our first film. We got into grant writing which filled in the cracks. We were lucky to have a fiscal sponsor through Fractured Atlas when we first started. The grants that they helped us receive provided student scholarships. In 2011 & 2012, we were awarded grants from the Arts Council for Monterey County, S.T.A.R. Foundation of Monterey County, Yellow Brick Road Foundation, and Monterey Penninsula Foundation. Then came private donors and crowd-sourcing donations through IndieGoGo for specific films with production budgets. Now, we’ve begun a relationship with Adobe Youth Voices and we’re very excited to begin a long term relationship with them.
Did you have equipment available?
With our Blackmagic Cinema Camera kit and audio kit, our conservatory’s equipment is enough to reach cinema-quality for our group-writing/producing projects. In addition to the Conservatory’s equipment, in 2013 we were commissioned to bring our program to Millennium Charter High School in Salinas. Their Media Center for Arts, Education and Technology’s (MCAET) blackbox theatre & television studio has top of the line Panasonic HD cameras with Blackmagic Design capturing, switching, and distribution software. The students use MCAET’s former cameras for small group projects.
How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
We began with 9 students in the Winter of 2010. Since then each season has been unique, serving up to 15 students. This upcoming Spring 2015, HARA Motion Picture Conservatory classes will operate on the weekends at the MCAET Production Studio with a potential partnership with Adobe Youth Voices. High school students in Monterey County are welcome to apply and 12 students will be accepted to attend the weekend classes. The classes are 4-hour workshop intensives on Saturdays. Summers will be 4-day week modules.
Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?
We teach underserved youth the basics of production and creative expression through collaboration in new media formats. Through group-screenplay writing, acting for the camera, and directing, we focus on cultivating young professionals dedicated to creating new media. Our classes of 9 – 15 students per season concentrate on different film formats such as 50-minute featurette, short film, episodic television, commercial documentary, online education, etc.
What jobs do the kids do? Do the kids rotate through on-air talent and crew positions or are they “hired” for a specific task?
Students have opportunities to specialize in different production departments for each project. Our philosophy is that every actor learn all crew positions. Students rotate in crew roles based on when they are not needed in front of the camera.
Do students audition for on-air positions?
Our casting process if very organic. The students who excell naturally find their way in front of the camera. If there is a lot of talent, we end up producing a lot of content. Its that simple.
Do they write the content?
We do striclty original content. Most dialoge for our narrative work is workshopped through small group improvisation and then chizzled down by the Program Manager and/or Program Director.
How long does the show run?
Our Short Film Festivals or Featurette Premieres generally run 50 minutes without intermission.
Do you submit programming to independent contest such as those sponsored by StudicaSkills and SchoolTube TV?
Not yet but that sounds like a good idea.
Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
Yes, our films run regularly on public cable access local channels hosted by Access Monterey Penninsula and the Media Center for Art, Education and Technology (MCAET) has 3 UHF television stations, Lifestream web-streaming, YouTube & Vimeo channels.
Where do you post programming? YouTube? Vimeo? SchoolTube? SVN-TV? Other?
We also post our programs on our channel vimeo.com/haramotionpictures
Do you have an equipment list you can share with our readers?
Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5K EF, Canon 60D, Canon Zooms, 42M Screw Mount Primes
Have any quick start tips!
Technology is not the subject of the lesson, capturing talent is. Talent is not yours. Its meant to be given away. The more you give it, the bigger it grows.